Muskie golfers chasing gold

Joey Payeur

Every coach wants his or her players to get better each time out.
The Muskie golf team did exactly that last Tuesday yet still didn’t reap what should have been its just rewards.
Fort High shaved eight strokes from its opening team total the previous week, but had to settle for a second-place finish in the second NorWOSSA event of the season held at the Beauty Bay Golf Course in Kenora.
The Muskies’ top four performers on the day combined for a mark of 353–down from the 361 that gave them the win in the season-opener in Sioux Lookout.
But they didn’t count on Nodin Carlson of the St. Thomas Aquinas Saints impersonating Jordan Spieth as the Kenora golfer scorched Beauty Bay with a round of 74.
That also lifted the Saints to a two-stroke win over the Muskies with a total score of 351.
“It was surprising to hear we didn’t finish first in Kenora,” said assistant coach Chris Sinclair.
“We had a good day as a team, improving by eight strokes on a more difficult course,” he noted.
“But that’s golf,” Sinclair reasoned. “Although we had a better day, so did many other players.
“[Carlson’s] 74 is a very good score at a course like Kenora,” he added.
“And when you have a player shooting low like that, it gives your team a chance to win as was the case with [the Saints].”
Kendyn Faragher led the Muskies with a solid 84, good enough for third place individually behind Carlson and Dryden’s Jacob Lugli (78).
Right behind Faragher was teammate Cole Kowalski, who was fourth (85).
Kaleb Bruyere landed in eighth place (91) while Matthew Gerstner made it four Muskies in the top 10 after tying Cortez Favot of the Sioux Lookout Warriors (93).
As for Muskie scores that didn’t factor into the team total, Mikel Ward was 12th (95), Aiden Wielinga tied Liam Jones of Dryden for 15th (98), and Gordy Scott was 24th (116).
“When talking about how their rounds went, they all seemed to agree that they found success when playing smart,” Sinclair recounted.
“Pars are good on a course like that,” he stressed. “Finding the fairway on your drive puts you in a good spot and when the guys were having success, that’s where it started from.
“[Beauty Bay] has too many blind shots and hazards that it is easy to get into trouble.”
The Muskies, tied with the Saints for first place in the team competition, will get a chance to capture NorWOSSA gold on the familiar layout of Kitchen Creek Golf Club this Friday beginning at 10 a.m.
“It’s an ideal position for us to be in and gives us a opportunity to win NorWOSSA,” said Sinclair.
“We have continued to improve from competition to competition, and I don’t expect that to change this Friday.”
The top three teams in the NorWOSSA standings, along with the next five individuals not associated with those teams, will advance to the NWOSSAA final Oct. 3 in Thunder Bay.
But preparing for the final test before then is at the forefront of the Muskies’ priority list.
“We were able to get to the range last week after Kenora to work on some things that each kid was struggling with or wanted to adjust,” said Sinclair.
“This week, we will get out to Kitchen Creek and play a couple of rounds to practice before playing.
“[Head coach] Jon Lundon has been stressing the importance of playing smart and making shots that keep you out of trouble,” he added.
“Kitchen Creek is a course where there is opportunity to take risks and score low.
“But it’s important that the guys play mentally tough and don’t make the course any more challenging than it is,” Sinclair stressed.